Alternate Magic @aaliseliza
Chapter 16

Clint carried Lila while hurriedly leading the three of them away from the destroyed street. The damaged street already had drawn a crowd of perplexed citizens seeking to investigate the cause. Clint quickly grabbed Hermione's hand to prevent the horde of people from separating them, and to appear as a family unit.

"Keep your wand out of sight," Clint said so only she could hear. "First rule of hiding in plain sight, act like you're not."

Clint kept weaving around people until they were several blocks away, before he nodded towards a ford Taurus. Hermione wandlessly unlocked the back door so they could put Lila in, before getting in the front seats. The archer successfully hotwired the car, and slowly pulled away from the curb.

"How do you plan on locating Cap without Hydra either finding or using us to locate him?"

"There's a location ritual I can perform," Hermione explained. "I'll need a city map and it can't be electronic based."

"Easy enough," Clint said, glancing over his shoulder to check on Lila, who already was falling asleep. Hermione had no doubt the adrenaline of being chased combined with the surge of magic had exhausted her.

"I wouldn't risk using any tech right now any way, not with Hydra in command of SHIELDs resources. Had to ditch my usual suit cause of the tracker. Hopefully Cap has done the same."

"SHIELD tracks you?"

"It's for extraction purposes in case a mission goes south," Clint explained. "Now what happened?"

Hermione sighed before recounting the last two days. Once she was finished Clint cursed under his breath.

"Hydra knows you're Steve's kid, which means they want you to gain access to the serum."

"That's the running theory at least," Hermione agreed. "Which means I need to get as far away from you and Lila as possible."

"What?!"

"Exactly what do you think they'll do if they realize Lila is magical?" Hermione demanded. "They'll exterminate me and go for her. It's easier to control a child."

"How'd she do it?" Clint asked, struggling to keep his voice level and not wake up his daughter. Hermione shrugged helplessly in her seat. "Come on, think. There's got to be an explanation for why Lila suddenly can use magic."

"I don't know," Hermione said, shaking her head.

"Mia," Clint said glancing over at her before his eyes darted back to the road. "My kid just blew a crater in the middle of a city boulevard. I need you to do better than 'I don't know."

"Well I don't!" Hermione retorted, even as Clint glanced back at Lila. "It isn't as though Magic is sentient and just goes around deciding who can develop a magical core."

The witch's eyes widened as her own words washed over her, "That's it!"

"What's it?" Clint asked, confused over Hermione's sudden realization even as the witch started vibrating in her seat. "Mia, what are you talking about?"

"Magic is sentient!"

"You just said it wasn't."

"Think about it!" Hermione insisted. "It explains why squibs and muggleborns exist. Magic actually can withhold the ability to wield it or provide it to a child in a nonmagical family."

"What the hell is a squib?"

"It's essentially the reverse of a muggleborn," Hermione said dismissively. "My parents never possessed magic, but I do." "No, your dad just under went a military experiment and became a super soldier," Clint muttered.

"Both are rare, but squibs are usually hidden so they appear to happen even less," Hermione said talking over him.

"How do you know Lila isn't just like you?"

"Magic doesn't exist here," Hermione answered, while Clint tried to wrap his head around what she was saying. "I went looking for it, which is why I was in New York during the Cthauri invasion. I brought it with me, and Magic must be ensuring its survival."

"Brought it with you," Clint repeated. "You've been keeping secrets."

"It's a story for another time," Hermione said. "Lila knows wand movements and incantations, but her wand is hollow. Even if she'd used mine, without possessing a magical core it wouldn't have done anything."

"Alright, for arguments sake, say that Magic is sentient," Clint said trying to rationalize the bizarre conversation. "You think that what, because Lila believes magic is real that it rewarded her?"

"I've never done magic in front of her or Connor until the past two days when I had no choice," Hermione reminded him. "I mean, think about what would happen if you took a child's imagination and then add irrefutable proof."

"This is insane," Clint muttered under his breath. "Exactly how am I supposed to keep her from blowing our house up?"

"Isn't that one of the normal perils of raising children?" Hermione asked snickering at the half-hearted glare Clint shot back at her. "Don't worry, she'll start outgrowing magical outbursts as soon as she starts learning how to properly use a wand."

Hermione paused momentarily, "Although, that's the normal trajectory for an untrained child who doesn't get their wand until eleven. It might be a bit different considering Lila's been learning spells and the stories I've told her about the dangers of accidental magic."

"So you have no idea," Clint concluded.

"Nope," Hermione said cheerfully. "Don't worry, I'll teach her. I've got an entire magical library, and I've lived it."

"As if I'd give you a choice," Clint said. "I'd sic Laura on you. I'll give you a reprieve, however, until you take care of this nonsense with Hydra."

"How far out are we anyway?"

"Two minutes," Clint answered, before asking, "You sure about splitting up?"

"Hydra will only keep following me, and now more than ever they can't find Lila," Hermione said grimly. The car came to a stop outside of a nondescript apartment building that Steve was supposedly in.

"I'll check in with Tony when I can, and we'll have him play communications expert."

"As soon as possible," Clint ordered as she shut the car door behind her. At her confirming nod, he pulled away and Hermione headed towards her quarry. The D.C. neighborhood was quiet, but Hermione still took her time moving up the flight of stairs. Once she'd located the apartment, Hermione cast a hearing enhancement charm and promptly knocked on the door. Immediately, she could hear muffled scuffling from the other side of the door, and dropped the spell as the footsteps approached the door.

"Can I help—"

Cutting off the tall African American young man, Hermione kissed him fiercely. As his hands gripped her hips tightly and he returned the greeting, Hermione maneuvered them into his apartment, using her magic to shut the door. The moment his back hit the wall. Hermione's wand was under his chin and she broke away. She watched as the lust slowly cleared from his eyes as she looked up at him.

"Where is Steve Rogers?" Hermione demanded, digging her wand into the underside of the man's chin.

"Who?" The man asked, staring coldly down at her. "Look lady, I've no idea who or what you're talking about."

"Isn't this cozy?" Natasha interrupted, stepping into the foyer behind them. Recognizing the assassin's voice, Hermione didn't need to turn around or hear the slide of the firearm to know there was a gun pointed at her head.

"You forgot to mention you had a girlfriend Sam."

"I don't know her," Sam wheezed as Hermione dug the tip of her wand further into his throat. Reflexively, Sam's fingers tightened on Hermione's hips, which neither female missed.

"Clint says hi," Hermione told Natasha while keeping her eyes on Sam.

"What the hell is going on?" Sam demanded, his eyes flying over to Natasha and then back.

"Sam meet Hermione," Natasha introduced, a coy smile on her face due to the position Sam was in. "I'd tell you he's friendly, but clearly you've already discovered that trait."

"Steve with you? Clint told me what happened to his apartment."

"Steve," Natasha called over her shoulder, lowering her sidearm after recognizing Hermione's voice and smiling mischievously. "Visitor for you. She's the friendly kind."

"Hermione?" Steve asked staring at her when he joined them. The unease in his voice became obvious when he saw the position, she and Sam were currently in. "How do you know Sam?"

"I'm pretty sure Sam forgot to tell us he had a girlfriend," Natasha teased, as Steve and Sam glared at her.

"Anyone care to explain or call her off?" Sam asked, as Hermione smirked before releasing the man and stowed her wand away. "A stick? You were threatening me with a stick?!"

"Careful," Natasha warned as she led the group further into the apartment. "She's got a temper. As for your previous question, Hermione here is Caps kid," Natasha answered grinning when Sam choked on the water he'd just drank.

"What?" Sam blurted out, as Steve and Hermione sighed. "Seriously? I am so sorry. Holy crap, I just made out with Captain America's daughter."

"It was a diversion tactic," Hermione retorted as Steve turned bright red. Catching sight of his face the witch added, "You're pretty smooth with that tongue though."

Natasha burst out laughing as Steve gagged, and Sam blushed.

"How'd you find us?" Natasha asked taking pity on the boys. "Stark?"

"He's in Italy, and no."

"What's to prevent Hydra from following?" Steve asked.

"Unless they have the ability to track you with a blood magic ritual, I'd say none," Hermione answered. "One of the perks of sharing DNA. Clint gave me a ride."

"Why isn't Clint with you?" Steve asked, sounding a bit suspicious.

"I sent him to secure a safe house," Hermione answered, as Natasha stared at her knowingly. Had Hermione not been looking for it, she would have missed the slight nod of approval from the ginger.

Steve glared at her, "And you didn't think it would be prudent for you to be in that safe house?"

Hermione raised an eyebrow at him, "Nat's here."

"Natasha is a trained SHIELD agent. She's used to this type of fighting, not to mention the amount of intel she possesses," Steve argued, refusing to relent.

"Steve," Natasha tried to intervene.

"No. There's no reason for you to be in this situation!"

"Hydra's been chasing me for two days," Hermione told him. "The first time it was four different men. All worked for SHIELD, but had dubious backgrounds. After evading them, they sent a ringer."

"The Winter Soldier?" Natasha asked, her voice raising in concern. Hermione shrugged.

"Hell, if I know," Hermione answered. "Guy's got shaggy black hair, speaks Russian, ominous metal arm. I managed to get the drop on him long enough for Clint to show up and provide an assist."

"That's him."

"Why? Why would they go after you?" Sam asked.

"The serum," Steve muttered. "Let me guess, Hydra has a file on her that has the DNA results, which means Hydra has them."

"So, what's the plan, Dad

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